The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162618   Message #3871371
Posted By: Steve Shaw
13-Aug-17 - 09:12 AM
Thread Name: BS: The (in)glorious 12th
Subject: RE: BS: The (in)glorious 12th
His article is basically an anti-fox rant which is predicated on the fact that foxes prey on game birds. The problem there is that game-bird habitat is highly artificial and just happens to be nirvana for foxes. You might as well rail against pigeons for inhabiting Radcliffe bus station in large numbers, where bits of crisps, pasties, pies and butties provide a rich harvest of pigeon grub. Neither Botham's grouse moor nor Radcliffe bus station are remotely natural habitats. Yet he comes out with this piece of egregious ignorance:

"The heart of the problem is that the RSPB's leadership appears to lack the courage to manage nature. Everyone who lives in the countryside knows that nature left to its own devices is a brutal place."

Well nature left to its own devices created the amazing beauty and staggering diversity of the natural world over billions of years well before Sir Ian's shooting fad came along. What's wrong with his simplistic notion is that he doesn't realise that simplifying nature by drastically reducing diversity is at the heart of the predator "problem" he sees. His grouse moor provides habitat in which grouse are unnaturally overcrowded. There are few other bird species and they exist in low numbers. Birds of prey are not suffered to exist. The vegetation is highly restricted as to species and is tailored for grouse only. It's no wonder that foxes see their opportunity. Grouse moors attract foxes for the same reason they attract shooters. They are full of grouse. Duh. So Sir Ian, in order to strengthen his case against the animal that spoils his shoot, lashes out in all sorts of other anti-fox directions. If foxes are "out of control" (which they are not), it's solely because we have created the conditions for that to happen. He's made his grouse moor into a very brutal place by NOT leaving it to its own devices. If you don't believe me, just imagine you're a grouse up there this afternoon, shot at by morons by day and threatened by the foxes that Sir Ian has encouraged by night. The one predator they should be scared of, the bird of prey, doesn't get a look-in. It might even be lying poisoned in a ditch. Now that's what I call mucking about with nature.